USA Today recently ran a cover story on Will Smith that spells out how the affable actor has amassed over $2.45 billion in North American box office receipts. Just about any brand can learn from him.
America's largest media and entertainment companies are richer than ever. But their profits overwhelmingly rely on an anxious business model.
Warner Bros. is consolidating its digital sales operations as it looks to build out an entertainment-focused ad powerhouse on the Web.
Hoping to give visitors their own platform for curation, the Cleveland Museum of Art has launched its Artlens app, which can be used by patrons to create their own path through the collection.
While the digital era has led to many difficulties, challenges and changes for the music industry, it also has opened opportunities for music fans to interact with their favorite acts in ways that were not possible before.
Imagine Walt Disney World with no entry turnstiles. Cash? Passe. Visitors would wear rubber bracelets encoded with credit card information, snapping up corn dogs and Mickey Mouse ears with a tap of the wrist. Smartphone alerts would signal when it is time to ride Space Mountain, without standing in line. Fantasyland? Hardly. It happens starting this spring.
With New Fantasyland, we seized the opportunity to bring to life some new classic stories — Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid — using innovative technology and entertainment approaches that elevate the guest experience beyond anything we’ve ever delivered.
On a sweltering Wednesday night in New York, three unlikely things merged: electronica god Steve Aoki, Duran Duran and Trident Gum. As part of its first global campaign, "See What Unfolds," the gum brand is planning a series of events around the world, seeking to engage with fans over "the serious business of fun."
These are interesting times in the social gaming industry. Two weeks ago Disney acquired Playdom, and last week Google acquired Slide. Just like that, two of the largest social game publishers have become part of larger companies. This activity all comes on the heels of EA’s acquisition of Playfish late last year. Social gaming, as a category, has grown incredibly quickly, becoming one of the dominant drivers of usage on Facebook, and an increasingly core component of people’s entertainment. This growth represents a real threat to other forms of entertainment, and has precipitated the three deals that we have seen so far.
Google and Verizon on Monday introduced a proposal for how Internet service should be regulated — and were immediately criticized by groups that favor keeping the network as open as possible. The proposal includes exceptions for wireless Internet access and for potential new services that broadband providers could offer, including things like “advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.” The announcement is the latest move in a high-stakes battle over a principle known as net neutrality. The debate is over whether Internet users should be able to access all types of online information on an equal basis, or whether Internet service providers should be able to charge content companies for faster transmission.
NBC Universal's new Dial Star, a 10-episode Web series sponsored by AT&T, is the latest proof of the media giant's growing commitment to branded entertainment. It also follows on rival moves, such as Orbit’s new DumbDumb campaign from former NBCU entertainment head Ben Silverman and actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. Starring Annalynne McCord (above, of 90210 and Nip/Tuck fame), Dial Star aims to build an online following and viral buzz with its mix of Hollywood glitz and glamour, deception and identity theft.
People worldwide will be looking toward digital technology -- particularly that which uses the Internet -- to serve their entertainment and media needs, proving once again the future is indeed digital. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers' most recent "Global Entertainment and Media Outlook," expenditures in those categories are expected to increase to $1.7 trillion from by 2014 (from $1.3 trillion), with a compound annual growth rate of 5%. In the U.S., such expenditures will increase about 4% annually to $517 billion by 2014 (from $425 billion).
The comedians Will Arnett and Jason Bateman are introducing their first videos created in concert with brands, five months after announcing DumbDumb, something they call a “sponsor-driven advertising and production company.” What is that, exactly? It is a company, backed by IAC, controlled by Barry Diller, that is creating Web videos on behalf of paid sponsors, the first one being Orbit gum.
Mr. Burke, speaking at the All Things Digital conference on Wednesday morning, said he believes that putting content and distribution under one roof would allow Comcast to expand its offerings to customers. "If you think of distribution as technology, and the ability to get content to consumers, the ability to have that content will let you do more," he said.
A recent survey released by Edelman examined the evolution of consumers’ perceptions of the Internet as an entertainment medium, and not just a source of information. While this broad statement may seem obvious to many working directly in the digital media space, the implications of this evolution for how consumers define and consume entertainment – and the factors they value and are inclined to pay for – merit further consideration for any brand looking to entertain and engage consumers.
Redbox, the DVD rental kiosk company, is partnering with PepsiCo and Kroger, urging people to "Make it a Movie Night": When shoppers pick up at least three Pepsi or Frito-Lay products, they get a free movie rental. A spokesperson for the Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based company tells Marketing Daily by email that while Redbox participates in a number of cross-promotions, this one is "unique in that it is a 52-week program and involves multiple brands. Additionally, given the duration and large number of participating stores, this promotion is setting the bar at Redbox."
Google has made its triumphant entrance in the entertainment war with Google TV. Will users embrace it over the likes of Apple TV, though? That’s the question we’re asking you in this week’s Web Faceoff, where we poll the Mashable readership on which web apps and products they care about most. Apple was one of the first to move into the web TV market with Apple TV, first announced in 2006. However, the product never gained the success of other Apple products such as the iPhone, the iPod and even the iPad. Still, Apple TV has a loyal niche customer base.
As the NBA conference finals wind down and the 2010 championship finals take shape, the league has rolled out the last piece of its "Amazing Is..." postseason campaign which was pulled together with the help of DJ Steve Porter and the NBA's ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. As in previous spots, Porter took audio clips from star players at key moments in NBA history and created mashups under different themes for different stages of the playoffs -- “Belief” for the first round, “Unity” for the conference semifinals, “the Journey” for the conference finals, and “the Dream” for the finals.
As quickly and extensively as the digital media landscape twists and turns in fashioning its future fortunes, so do the executives holding the reins. Speculation has followed Peter Chernin since he left News Corp after serving under Rupert Murdoch as COO. As with many moguls in that stratosphere, there was no rush to join another big company. Having worked with the best in the business, Chernin now wants his own empire to run.
The world's second-largest food company and National CineMedia have inked a marketing alliance that will bring Kraft brands such as Oscar Mayer Lunchables, Stride gum and Ritz crackers to the big screen. The agreement marks the first time a food advertiser has created long-form, branded content for the cinema. Kraft's campaign, launching today, will include two-minute-and-thirty-second original entertainment segments -- along with traditional shorter spots -- in NCM's FirstLook pre-feature program running on its digital network of 15,400 screens.
There's a reason Polaroid figures nearly as prominently as Lady Gaga does in the pop singer's latest music video "Telephone": it's in her financial interest to make sure the once iconic brand gets as much camera time as she does. While Gaga and Polaroid each got a lot of ink in January when she struck an unconventional partnership with the company that made her the brand's "creative director and inventor of specialty products," a source close to the situation told The Post that the 23-year-old pop star has a financial stake in Polaroid that allows her to participate "in the future of the company in a meaningful way."
Pay-TV juggernaut HBO has officially announced the launch of HBO Go, a video-streaming service. Unless you are one of the 38 million cable subscribers who gets HBO or sister service Cinemax, HBO Go won't be offered to you, the company has said. HBO Go provides subscribers Web access to the same movies HBO screens on cable TV--at no extra charge. This is the on-demand movie provider's attempt to hang on to subscribers during a down economy, as Netflix and other services attract more and more consumers looking to cut entertainment costs.
Now that the histrionics surrounding the debut of Apple's iPad have fizzled into a rational, and often uninspired, discussion of the device’s actual merits and shortcomings, Apple is left with the iReality of the iPad. Reviews are mixed, but the brand is being proactive about taking the lead regarding the public conversation.
It used to be that a basic $25-a-month phone bill was your main telecommunications expense. But by 2004, the average American spent $770.95 annually on services like cable television, Internet connectivity and video games, according to data from the Census Bureau. By 2008, that number rose to $903, outstripping inflation. By the end of this year, it is expected to have grown to $997.07. Add another $1,000 or more for cellphone service and the average family is spending as much on entertainment over devices as they are on dining out or buying gasoline.
It's a changing world in the toy business. Kids are focusing more of their attention on visual pursuits -- not just television and movies, but increasingly, video games and online entertainment. That means toy makers are scrambling to reinvent their brands and keep up with the times. Hasbro, the second largest US toy maker behind Mattel, is making a big Hollywood push to remain competitive.
The global downturn put some U.S. theme parks into bankruptcy and upended grand plans for new ones in the Middle East. But in Asia, a development boomlet is under way, as operators race to roll out parks and add attractions to draw in the region’s growing middle class. A Universal Studios is set to open early next year in Singapore at Resorts World at Sentosa, a sprawling development that includes a casino. Over the border in Malaysia, ground has just been broken on the first Legoland in Asia, due to open in 2012. In Hong Kong, the $750 million redevelopment of Ocean Park is to be completed in 2013, while Hong Kong Disneyland Resort recently began a $465 million expansion project that is to add three areas by 2014. And last month, Disney finally won approval from the Chinese government to build a theme park in Shanghai; it is expected to open in five to six years.
I wrote about Stern as a pioneer in my book. He rethought radio networks and built his own. He brought satellite radio to critical mass. But satellite radio was always a transitional technology, waiting for ubiquitous connectivity that would enable on-demand programming anywhere. Now our phones can give us radio and soon Stern will be ready for them; they will make him portable. There’s a larger trend at work here: Entertainers (radio, music, comedy, books, columnists, even filmmakers) will have direct relationships with their audiences. Like Stern, they won’t have to work for companies or go through them for distribution.
Videogame publishers, pushing to expand their businesses, are making games that target girls and women a new industry battleground. This holiday season, more games than ever are being geared toward female players. Electronic Arts Inc. is releasing the latest installment of its "Littlest Pet Shop" game for young girls and introducing a series of fashion-themed games called "Charm Girls Club" for older girls later this month. Sony Corp. in August packaged a lilac version of its PlayStation Portable device with a "Hannah Montana" game, based on the popular television show about a girl and her secret pop career. Publishers also will target women with workout games.
Anthropological dreams are made of this: helping Disney and Marvel manage their rapprochement. Nothing short of heroic effort will do. Disney is, after all, a pretty good marker for all that is mainstream about American culture. Marvel is, by deliberate contrast, darker and less predictable. One corporation turns in towards the gravitational center of our culture. The other prefers to plot a course for the margin, for the uncharted, for the unknown. I mean, this can't be a match made in heaven. It's going to be tricky, complicated and, possibly, agonizing. Right?
While producing information costs money, information as such doesn’t necessarily carry monetary value; it mostly carries intellectual, social, artistic, practical value. And that’s why, historically, news has been commercially, publicly, politically and privately subsidized. That information is not necessarily connected to a physical good (paper) or a concrete service (the delivery), or a limited quantity anymore, making it difficult to measure its price. We have difficulties spending money for digital information because at the end of the transaction we neither save time nor do we hold anything concrete or limited in our hands. It feels like buying air.
Yahoo is unveiling a major overhaul of its vaunted home page, a redesign aimed at creating a less cluttered, more malleable and cohesive user experience.
Starbucks is going back to its premium-coffeehouse roots -- by building premium coffeehouses. The chain, in the latest attempt to negotiate its turnaround, is focusing on stores with smaller-batch coffee, community involvement and entertainment.
Coca-Cola’s Nestea is the latest brand to tap online-only programming. CTRL, which launches on sites like NBC.com, USANetwork.com and Hulu.com this month, stars Tony Hale of Arrested Development as an office worker with the ability to change everyday reality by drinking Nestea. The effort is an attempt to reach what Annis Lyles, vp of media and interactive for Coca-Cola, North America, calls the sweet spot for the brand—millennials—and augments Nestea’s “Liquid Awesomeness” campaign from Venables, Bell & Partners, which features a spokesperson, Steve, running Nestea experiments via a live Webcam in his home.
The line between advertisers and entertainment producers is rapidly blurring in China, as many brands go online with their own films and Web series, taking advantage of the shortage of popular shows on China's state-controlled TV.
The reality show focuses on Billy Mays, the most successful direct-response salesman in TV history. 'I cut through the noise, through the clutter,' he says. 'People want to hear the pitch.'
Nintendo’s newest toy, the DSi, fits in your pocket and demonstrates in a simultaneously profound and giggle-inducing way that its makers may have a deeper understanding of how entertainment is evolving in the 21st century than any other company.
The celebrity Web site TMZ and TV shows like “Extra” and “Inside Edition” are expanding their coverage of starlets and Hollywood break-ups to include billion-dollar business scandals and the economic collapse.
Robotic systems continue to evolve, slowly penetrating many areas of our lives, from manufacturing, medicine and remote exploration to entertainment, security and personal assistance. Developers in Japan are currently building robots to assist the elderly, while NASA develops the next generation of space explorers, and artists are exploring new avenues of entertainment. Collected here are a handful of images of our recent robotic past, and perhaps a glimpse into the near future.
Intimates brand Victoria’s Secret has retained Los Angeles-based entertainment marketing consultancy Davie Brown Entertainment as its lead agency to explore film, television and other industry outreach opportunities.
Amazon.com Inc. entered the casual videogames market, expanding the Internet company's digital distribution business into a growing entertainment genre.
Video games and Blu-ray or DVD movies are both competing for what little time I have to enjoy entertainment. Usually, that happens during weekends or after I'm done working each night. And although I still watch a slew of films each year, I've realized that if I need to choose between playing a game for a couple hours or finding a movie worth watching, I'll choose the former almost every time.
Two years ago, a YouTube member named MadV put up a short, cryptic video. He held his hand up to the camera, showing what he'd written on his palm: "One World." Within a few days, hundreds of YouTube users had posted videos displaying their own scrawled messages. DIY tools for shooting, editing, and broadcasting video aren't just changing who uses the medium. They're changing how we use it.